Wednesday 9 October 2019


Instagram thinks I’m a woman. I’m not sure how that started. Perhaps the algorithm made a horribly sexist assumption because I follow quite a lot of fashion and art and accounts like Gurls Talk and gal-dem… no idea. But I know it doesn’t think I’m a bloke, because it serves me ads for menstrual cups, shapewear, lipstick, etc.

I’ve definitely made the algorithm double down on this assumption. That’s because the total irrelevance of these ads gives them stopping power, my curiosity takes over and I end up watching the whole thing. And presumably the algorithm decides I’m a hot prospect.

This got me thinking. Maybe contextual relevance (for making creative) is a massive error. Sure, for media buying it makes a lot of sense, in the end I won’t be buying any of these misplaced products. But I’m starting to think that ads for products I might buy need to be contextually irrelevant to get noticed. Or is that just a wanky way of saying ads need cut-through?

Lemme know your thoughts @LucianTrester

Monday 19 August 2019


1. The product doesn't look premium.

2. There is no human insight.

3. There is no customer benefit.

4. There is no call to action.

5. There is no brand purpose.

6. There should be a hashtag so people can join the conversation.

7. There is no reason to believe.

8.  It's category generic.

9. Not consistent with the rest of the Chanel brand world.

10. No integrated user journey.

The list could go on.... and yet they are (in my not-humble opinion) as close to perfect as ads can get.

Sadly I've seen great work die at the hands of every single one of those reasons. Why? Because people are so desperate for advertising to be a formula they will kill anything that doesn't fit into their narrow view.

The moral of the story, sometimes great advertising doesn't fit into your rules. So fuck your rules.

Thursday 11 October 2018


Earlier this year I went to Bucharest to attend the tech conference icee.fest. I saw some fairly breathtaking presentations from production companies Happy Finish and Hammerhead, on the capabilities of VR, AR and AI. If you want to see how this tech is impacting creativity (as opposed to just hear these buzzwords being thrown around the ad industry…) I’d recommend you go next year.
I was asked to speak about ‘how to get your message across in a world with a lot of noise’. Sir Nigel Bogle referred to BBH as a Fame Factory some time before Marketing In The Era of Accountability showed us that this was the most profitable objective for comms, and it is still what we, and our clients, aim for today. So I spoke (for 20mins) about how I think you make famous advertising, using case studies from Nike, PlayStation, Absolut, Ikea, KFC and Justice4Grenfell.
I also used the talk to trail a new product that we are launching called >next-to-no-moneyfame – a low risk, high return way to access BBH’s fame making creativity. Stay tuned for more on that soon.
Thanks, Lucian.

Monday 29 January 2018


I’ve got a few problems with brand ‘manifesto’ ads. With a couple of notable exceptions, they are just strategy set to a mood film. They over explain something that didn’t need explaining. They veer into topics unrelated to the product. They try too hard to be liked. Most off all, I hate that they are all long.

If simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, and you have a finite media budget, and human attention is a rare commodity, then why not say it fast? Because you need 90s to say what your brand wants to say!? Bollocks.

Muhammad Ali, Hanz Zimmer and Banksy are proof that you can distil complex ideas, and that they are more powerful when refined.

The world’s shortest poem, a BBH favourite. In Jim Carroll’s words, ‘I particularly like Ali’s poem because it suggests two fundamental questions: who am I?; who are we? Sometimes I suspect that these may be the two most important questions of all.’

Hanz Zimmer explored the sound of the Joker, the sound of anarchy by writing more than 9000 bars of music. This was refined into 2 notes ‘that clash beautifully with each other. That get tighter and tighter but never break… You can hear a second of this thing and you know the Joker is lurking somewhere.’

A Banksy in Bethlem commenting on the region’s geopolitical conflict.
Short is fast.
Short is memorable.
Short is a competitive edge.
Nuff said.
(this article was originally posted on BBH Labs)

Tuesday 26 September 2017



A story of colonialisiation. Questions about knowledge and progress.

Mysterious. Morally complex. Makes you think. It might give you an existential crisis. It will make you sad.

If you're looking to get sucker-punched by a film, then this is for you


With Fassbender in the lead and Marion Cotillard playing Lady Macbeth, it's hard to imagine I will ever see this play performed with such intensity elsewhere.

With Justin Kurzel directing (of Snowtown fame) and Adam Arkapaw (True Detective) as DOP, it is a sinister and epic portrayal of madness, cruelty and medieval Scotland.

Watch it on as big a screen as you can.


Is it still unfashionable to like Wes Anderson? Well I LOVE everything he’s ever made. And if you do too but have never seen this short prelude to The Darjeeling Limited, then you’re in luck.

Featuring Natalie Portman and Jason Schwartzman but most importantly, the most drop dead gorgeous soundtrack of all time; ' Where do you go to' by Peter Sarstedt, this will be the best 10 mins of your day.

lemme know what you think @LucianTrestler

p.s. Embrace Of The Serpent & MacBeth are free on Amazon Prime.

Wednesday 13 September 2017


This is from Claude C. Hopkins, Scientific Advertising: Being Specific, published in 1923.

Still, everyday marketing professionals decide that they have such a "strong rational product claim" that are going to make exactly such a platitude. What's more, they also decide that they don't want any creative thought whatsoever to 'get in the way' of making such a statement:

How does this happen?

Some data tells them that having the best camera is the key purchase driver.

They make a phone with a camera that they can claim is the best.

Some people in the focus group decide that this advert says, 'this phone has the best camera' most clearly and so the advert is just a picture of the phone with a generic claim. Same as everyone else's. Part of the 84% of advertising that is not remembered at all.

This happens when you don't have a basic education in how creativity and communication work. When you aren't aware of the mountains of data linking creativity to commercial return. When you aren't aware of the power of emotion over reason to drive business results. When you have no respect for the power of an idea. When you aren't even aware of some of the basics of copywriting established nearly 100 fucking years ago. 

You don't need to do a lot of reading to learn these things. And when you do, you might stop saying things and start communicating them instead.

Thoughts? Gimme a shout @LucianTrestler